Monday, 11 July 2016

Long Road Ahead

Question: I always say tefillas haderech when I travel abroad. Do I also need to say it when I travel more locally?
Answer: According to the Gemara (Berachos 30a), one says tefillas haderech when travelling a parsa (approximately 2.5 miles) out of the city. As danger is more prevalent on a deserted road, the Tehila Ledovid (110:3) writes that one only says it when travelling on a road that is not within a parsa of any city. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Tefilla 21:31) suggests that as there is less inherent danger in travelling nowadays, it is best to recite it without the concluding beracha, or to say it in the shemone esrei (in shema koleinu) before travelling. R’ Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg also suggests this if one will find it easier to concentrate when not driving (Tefilla Kehilchasa 27:80).
While, one travelling, from Manchester to London, for example, should recite it, there are different opinions about one travelling on a shorter journey, such as from Manchester to Leeds. Sefardim should not recite it, based on the opinion that it is only recited if the journey takes 72 minutes (the time it takes to walk a Parsa - Halacha Berura 110:16 based on R’ Ovadia Yosef), while ashkenazim should, following R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and others. (See Shearim Metzuyanim Behalacha 68:2)
When flying, tefillas haderech should be recited while taxiing on the runway unless the airport is outside the city, in which case it should be said on the way there. Ideally, one should stand while reciting tefillas haderech, and should say it oneself, rather than listening to another and answering amen.

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